Panathinaikos v Barca match comments post

Win and we’re in, folks! Your starting XI:

Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Adriano, Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Villa and Messi

Have fun,  and sorry about being LiveBlogless. It’s the holidays, y’know….

By Kxevin

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Haha Tim Stannard is hilarious!

    “Cool. A man in a leather jacket just ran onto the pitch and stuck his middle finger up at Messi. Taken away by stewards. And no, it wasn’t Cristiano Ronaldo with a false beard.”

  2. the crowd threw fireworks or something and it delayed the game. after the dude flipped off messi.

    1. -We scored 3 goals.

      – Pitch invader with slicked black hair and a leather jacket gives Messi the middle finger before being taken off

      – Flares are lit and game is temporarily delayed

      – We’re still kicking their asses.

  3. @Ramzi: Oh I see your point: Alves and Adriano/Maxwell completely dominating the flanks while everyone else handling the central area and covering for them. Messi and Villa would work as inside winger /forwards running at CBs or gap bet CB/FB. I imagine you mean Messi/Villa would work like the forward pair in Villareal. Iniesta and Xavi doing what they usually do.

    But how does the back three work? Does Pique and Abidal move forward as well? In an offense do they combine with sMasch etc?

    PS Mandatory: Yay! We won! P!

    1. We’ve seen an evidence today about the importance of dedicating Adriano+Alves to offense. -Side note.

      As for the defense troika, that’s my favorite trick in the selection. Currently (the tactics Barca applies), The buildup could be categorized in two layers: 1) moving the ball forward from Barca’s half. 2) Offense buildup in the opponent half.

      For stage one, the key players are pique and Busquets. Alves is the supportive player. What usually happens is that the opponents check Busquets and their striker dance between Puyol and Pique who feels too risky to demand the ball in the space created by Busquets movement because that leave Puyol exposed at the back. Secondly, he cant make explosive runs forward that often because he is the second of two Center backs, especially while the fullbacks are contributing to offense.

      Based on the mentioned alternative, I -in principle- dedicate Puyol and Abidal to defense. Whenever the opponent employ only one forward, the two can check and cover while Pique moving forward 1) To receive the ball from the back and act as a virtual holding midfielder and move the ball to stage 2 (Xavi and co), or even move to do a Pequenbuer contribution all the way to the opponent’s area (not frequently though).

      In the other hand, Pique’s move to play beside the holding midfielder (with the forward behind him being checked by Abidal and Puyol) give Alves and/or Adrano the chance to contribute with Xavi,Iniesta,Messi,and Villa in high pressure to retain possession as close as possible to the opponent’s area.

      Now of course their are numerous variables and match schemes that point out “what to do if”. But that will turn the comment to a thesis.

    2. Sounds Awesome. You ought to do an in-depth analysis on it. Though it seems very susceptible to quick flank play and crosses (even more than our current system) from what I think. No?

  4. and the game against rubin is meaningless, for us. rubin could still qualify at copenhagens expense. still would be nice to finally beat them.

  5. Nice win today. I don’t think anyone really expected us not to win anyway.

    But since we’ve gotten Panathinaikos out of the way: I CANNOT WAIT FOR MONDAY. To hell with being nice or realistic. I want another 8-0. We’ve had to put up with the llorones for months now. I’m really sick of it. The time is finally come for ole’ EE to let their daddies take over the league. They had their 15 minutes, now they can go back to being 2nd where they belong.

    Sorry for changing the subject, but I’ve been holding in a lot of venom for a while now, and since el derbi is our next game, I might as well let it all out right now.

  6. Great game by Adriano. Since when does he take so many hard shots from outside of the box?? Nice to see. Still hoping to see better from Villa all-around. Not because he didn’t score, but because he does poorly on the ball, IMO. He was non-existent in the second half. Offered very little to team contribution unless you cite that he carries around 2 defenders on him that would be on someone else if they weren’t marking him. I don’t know, something is just not right. Formation, positioning?? I’m not sure but I think that Pep has a challenge on his hands. Bojan scores two goals last game and sits out. Villa scores none in both. I think it’s going to get thorny.

    1. Villa had 1 direct assist and 2 indirect assists that led to a goal in the last match. Don’t just look at the stats or goals mate.

    2. I don’t look at the stats or goals. I watch the game. IMO, by and large, he is not playing well with our system.

    3. You must be joking right?
      Look how well he has been connecting with Messi for over a month now. Don’t just look at highlights of the goals. Or what you could do is, watch the matches twice to get a better view.

    4. I watch all games in their entirety. Sometimes, Villa connects with Messi, but not enough IMO. He is not adapting with our system of play. I was excited when I heard of his signing with our team, but this performance was not what I had expected. Last week, against an inferior team, Kxevin rated him a 6 (lowest score) and today his performance was a little worse. I’m curious to see his thoughts. In any case, I can remember a nice back pass and a shot on goal. He continues to have trouble handling the ball, he has trouble with first touches, he’s slow in releasing the ball, little creativity in the box, which I think is why he’s not getting many passes in those tight spaces – he’s not making himself available for passes. I think it all starts to snowball. I don’t care how many times forwards say that they don’t care if they score as long as the team wins – a skilled forward with a long history of scoring goals, like Villa, is privately disappointed with performance.

    5. I think he doesn’t have the next play in mind when he receives the ball and that’s very important if you play a system like Barca does. So, some of his thinking should be happening before he receives the ball.

    6. can you give him at least half the season? for me having villa in there contributes to a much more kind-on-the-eyes barca than what i saw last year.

    7. I’ll give him a season and more. It can’t be easy to play with Barca. If I appear tough on him, it’s just because I want to see him succeed as he has in the past. I’m hoping it’s just time that he needs. Someone like Marcherano, who I along with many on this board were not as excited about as Villa, turned out fit in more seamlessly. Maybe it’s more a positional thing and fitting in as a forward is more difficult. That I don’t know.

  7. Yeah! Marc Crosas (remember him?) tweet via barcastuff:

    Tweet Marc Crosas (Celtic ex-Barça): “If you love football..look at barça’s 2nd goal then switch of the TV and go to bed!”

    True dat.

  8. Didn’t watch the match as ESPN USA decided to show Inter instead.
    Funny comment on barcastuff;
    “barcelona closing panathinaikos in in their own area, messi woke up ”

    Messi WOKE UP? :lol:”
    Was he having those quiet matches in the beginning?

    1. He was on reserve the whole match, really. It annoyed me a lot in the first half because he wasn’t even running. You could tell he was saving himself for Monday.

      Still, he did some good things and got a goal.

    2. Haha. But I saw comments like
      “I creamed my pants” in regard to Messi when I look back at the comments made during the match.
      It gave me a totally different idea on how he was playing.

      Adriano sounded like he had a good game. I always thought that he was better offensively than Maxwell.

    3. Well, Messi had a couple of nice dribbles and stuff, but he never really got out of first gear.

      Adriano got better as the match wore on. He is more aggressive than Maxwell and he had a couple of great shots.

  9. Mascherano: “Sergio [Busquets] is the starter and my task is to make sure to replace him well if he doesn’t play. (via barcastuff)

    Love Mascherano’s attitude.

    1. He really knows how to say the right things. Slowly smashing his way into my heart (possible oxymoron)…

    2. ITA. Trying hard to remember why it was I didn’t like him before? Dunno, but I sure am loving him now!

  10. Is there some kind of natural disaster in France or was Cisse just collecting the shirts ? 😀

    1. I also thought that there was a natural disaster or something but I really haven’t heard anything coming out of France from this morning’s news.
      Perhaps Cisse originated from New Zealand.

    2. i wonder how he asked without his own green shirt on. wasn’t he even embarrassed to say it with nothing in exchange?
      “may i have your shirt?” will make him look like a little fan.

    1. I don’t dislike him per se, but he was a diving ….. during the tournament. As a matter of fact, Di Maria was as well, although Jughead was one of the best players of that Argentina squad that no-one knew about(I got to see Aguero I mean, that Argentine team 3 times!! And Vela and Gio Dos Santos once!).

      Coentrao was the second best player of that Portuguese squad–that’s not saying much though. Bruno Gama was the best player if you wanted to know. I just remember that moment every time someone mentions Coentrao

    2. U20 WC was in Egypt last year. Many Good players with tricks, flicks, and dribbles. Couple of years later, You never see them again.

    3. I also would like to tell you all that “Suarez got banned 7 matches for biting, VDW sucked, Dani Alves is Awesome”

    4. Just wrote a really long post and it never showed up grr.
      So thanks for posting that JNASTY.

      Visca Barca! I’m going to watch the second half tomorrow morning. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate.

  11. I’m watching the replay of the match on FSC right now (didn’t watch it live earlier) and I have to say it is absolutely disgusting what Panaa;ksdjf;lskjd is doing. They had to know (at the very least their coach) that 1) They had an actual chance to advance to the tournament stage with two wins & 2) Even a draw in this game won’t help them since they aren’t gonna make up the Goal Differential tie breaker with Rubin for the 3rd spot and a spot in the Europa League (assuming Rubin loses to Barca in the 6th fixture)

    And what do they do? Park the bus. In front of their home fans. Essentially giving up their chance to play in European competitions this year.

    It’s sad, really.

  12. here are the groups. i imagine the draw will take place December 10 or 17.

    A: tottenham and inter advance, places TBD

    B: schalke and lyon advance, places TBD

    C: man u and valencia advance, places TBD

    D: barcelona 1, copenhagen or rubin 2

    E: bayern 1, roma or basel 2

    F: chelsea 1, marseille 2

    G: madrid 1, ac milan 2

    H: shaktar, arsenal, braga: two of three advance

    1. Milan. Inter. Arsenal 😀

      Seriously though, there are still some places that are undecided, so I’ll wait until the draw to decide.

    2. I wouldn’t mind Chelsea. They are off their game at the moment anyway, and it would be so sweeeeet. 😀

  13. apparently adriano was subbed because his calfs were cramping. not used to playing the full 90 i guess.

  14. Wow. Looking back at the U-20 WC in Canada, there are some many people that played there that were unknown then and are stars/well known now, and other players that were the sh*t and are anonymous. A short list of both types:

    Some players that were the sh*t during the tournament:

    – Maximiliano Moralez (Argentina)
    – <strikePablo Piatti (okay, lie. I just had a soft spot for him.
    -Alberto Bueno (Spain)
    -Adrian Lopez (Spain)
    – Diego Capel (Spain)<– He was subsequently hyped later as well
    – Matias Vidandossy (Chile)
    – Erwin Hoffer (Austria)
    – Martin Fenin (Czech Republic)
    – Edison Cavani (Uruguay) <– Still kinda hyped even now

    Players that weren't well known but became well known, bolded ones are the ones that caused a "WTF they played?!" reaction:

    – Gerard Pique (Spain) <– In my defense, it was in the summer of '07
    – Juan Mata (Spain)
    – Jozy Altidore, Micheal Bradley (USA)
    – Alexis Sanchez (Chile) <– Although he was praised heavily during the tournament early. At least by me.
    – Arturo Vidal (Chile)
    – Angel Di Maria, Mauro Zarate (Argentina)
    – Fabio Coentrao (Portugal)
    Javier Hernandez, Hector Moreno (Mexico)
    Luis Suarez (Uruguay) <– If I could bold it twice, I would
    – Sebastian Prodl (Austria)

    There could even more players that appeared but squad lists aren't shown. The only players that came in as stars and left as stars are : Kun Aguero, Pato, Freddy Adu(?), GDS and Carlos Vela.


  15. Video: Thong Boy’s cousin (not really) giving Messi the finger.


    1. I was kinda shocked when that douche did that. I don’t get why some people don’t like Messi. He’s basically the complete opposite of what Ronaldo is. But, oh well, he didn’t care, and besides, I would have cheered had someone did that to Ronaldo anyway, so I won’t complain.

      The best way to say “fck you” back is to score, which is exactly what Messi did.

  16. This has probably been repeated on this wall a thousand times but I gotta say the second goal (messi’s) was absolutely amazing.

    Even Mourinho wouldn’t be able to make his real madrid team pull something like that off.

  17. Speaking of Mourinho, very nice interview with FIFA:



  18. Speaking in The Sun, Zelkjo Petrovic moaned:

    “Everybody has great words for the Premier League but it is a myth. The Premier League is a crap league, it is nothing. In truth the level is shocking.

    “Every team has just three good players. If you take those players out of the teams then there are only players left who would not be playing in the bottom team in Holland.

    “The Bundesliga is far better.”

    1. Nice…
      I can’t remember who, but it was either Ray Hudson or a former Liverpool player who said the same thing.
      It’s somewhere on youtube

    2. He also forgot to mention that almost all of those “three good players” per team are NOT from the UK.

    3. Haha true.
      Let’s look at their top clubs..

      Man U- Vidic. UK= Rooney
      Chelsea- Drogba, Essien, Cech. UK= Terry, Cole, Lamps
      Liverpool- Torres. UK= Gerrard
      Arsenal- Cesc, Nasri. UK= NONE!!

  19. Many on other sites constantly harp about how La Liga isn’t any good because it only has two good teams (the 2 horse race argument). Valencia is going through, too—I’d say we have a very fine league.
    Hurray Barca! 150 goals for Messi!

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